Warning: SPOILERS for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan season 2.
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan season 2 made a major change to the titular CIA analyst by retconning his name: in Amazon Prime Video's reboot series, Ryan's full name is now Jack Patrick Ryan instead of John Patrick Ryan. John Krasinski returns as the patriotic hero in Jack Ryan season 2 where the action is transplanted to Venezuela. In this adventure with his CIA colleagues James Greer (Wendell Pierce) and Mike November (Michael Kelly), Ryan has to get to the bottom of a multinational conspiracy surrounding the Venezuelan Presidential election and how it connects to a U.S. Senator's murder.
Krasinski is the fifth actor to portray Jack Ryan, who was created by the late author Tom Clancy and has been the main character of multiple novels and feature film adaptations. In the Jack Ryan movie series, Alec Baldwin first played the CIA analyst in The Hunt for Red October before Harrison Ford took over the role for the next two films, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. The Sum of All Fears, a reboot featuring a younger Jack played by Ben Affleck, didn't spawn a new film series and a second reboot starring Chris Pine titled Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit also didn't earn a sequel. Amazon Prime Video's series starring John Krasinski, who is also an executive producer, is the third Jack Ryan reboot, and its success has already earned a season 3.
However, Jack Ryan season 2 surprised fans by changing the main character's name out of the blue. In every other version of Jack Ryan going back to the source material written by Tom Clancy, the CIA analyst's full name is John Patrick Ryan. But in Jack Ryan season 2's fourth episode, "Dressed to Kill", when Jack travels to London and shows his identification to the officials at Heathrow Airport, his passport indicates that his full name is now Jack Patrick Ryan. It's an inexplicable change since it's not uncommon for "Jack" to serve as the nickname for "John" and, furthermore, Jack Ryan's full name has been known by fans for decades and has been referenced in the movies. Yet the producers of Amazon Prime Video's reboot opted to make "Jack" Ryan's actual birth name.
The other changes in Jack's passport are logical; Clancy's original Ryan was born on May 17, 1950 but that would make Jack 69 years old. Since Jack Ryan is a reboot, Krasinski's version is understandably now born on May 17, 1982, making Jack 37 years old. Jack Ryan season 2 also referenced the accident Jack suffered as a Marine where he spent months in traction recovering from his injuries so that the fundamental aspect of Ryan's backstory still applies to the reboot. But changing his first name to Jack is nonsensical.
Now, Ryan is a CIA agent with a cover that he works for the State Department so it wouldn't be unusual if he traveled under an assumed name, but that isn't the case here since changing just his first name to Jack but keeping the same middle and last name makes no sense. Amazon's reboot making Ryan's birth name Jack is a petty change that doesn't really stand up to scrutiny; it's doubtful any viewers new to Jack Ryan's adventures would be terribly confused if his birth name is John, as it always has been, and his nickname is Jack. Millions of people have nicknames and it's not a hard concept to grasp.
Jack Ryan has made some exceptional updates to the patriotic analyst; Krasinski took Harrison Ford's cerebral action hero template for Ryan and ran with it while James Greer has been intriguingly rebooted as a converted Muslim but purposely making Ryan's birth name "Jack" isn't one of them. Krasinski's Jack Ryan is a worthy incarnation of the hero for the Peak TV era but it's a shame the producers of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan mistakenly seem to believe some people would be left befuddled if his full name was John Patrick Ryan, the way it's supposed to be.
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan season 2 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.